Modern individualisms and Christian schism: why what we miss is important

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The history of Western Modernity cannot be defined in an univocal way. However, it can be briefly outlined as a history characterized by the progressive emerging of individual freedom, together with its social recognition. The consequent dynamism in cultural and socio-economic terms defines Modernity as an age of great institutional change. Forms and rhythms of this change take different shapes according to the different worlds of the Christian Europe. The schism occurring between the Catholic Church and the Reformed Churches plays an important role for this aim. Consequences of such schism are decisive to explain the trajectory followed in those centuries by the countries that drove the Modernity – mostly reformed countries – as well as the countries that aimed at it – especially counter-reformed countries – being deeply influenced too. From many points of view, Modernity cannot be understood in abstract, apart from such event and from its, expected or not, consequences as well as from the characterization that the individual got from it. The hypothesis that we want to discuss in this contribution is that each of the two modern paths – starting, on the one side, from the Reformation and, on the other, from the Counter-Reformation - and relative models of socio-economic development characterized by the religious schism are interdependent. Moreover, they need to face a challenge that so far has been partly or not at all investigated: the anthropological challenge, beyond the reductionism suggested and reinforced by the schismatic Modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-75
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Review of Economics
VolumeVolume 63
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • modernity, individualism, christian schism


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